Neodesha residents evacuated the much of the town Tuesday after an explosion at an aerosol plant in town burned for much of the day and caused large smoke plumes in southeast Kansas.
The fire began at around 6 a.m. at Airosol Inc., which manufactures and packages aerosol, liquid and other specialty chemicals for industries. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
One worker inside the plant was taken to a Wichita hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to Cassandra Edson, spokeswoman for Wilson County Emergency Management.
Neodesha – whcih has roughly 2,500 residents and is about 100 miles southeast of Wichita – was placed under a “do not use water” advisory. The health department said on Facebook that it would provide bottled water.
Schools in Neodesha were closed Tuesday and all major roads into Neodesha were closed at different points of the day. The Kansas Department of Transportation reported smoke blowing over a closed portion of U.S. 400.
The Neodesha Fire Department used drones to help monitor flames and smoke in the area Tuesday afternoon. The smoke plume’s trajectory was shown as traveling north and slightly west as of late morning Tuesday.
Facebook posts from Wilson County Kansas Emergency Management said several agencies responded to the fire, including the Neodesha fire and police departments, the Fredonia fire and police departments,Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Highway Patrol, and Wildlife and Parks.
Neodesha set up evacuation sites at Fredonia High School and Independence Memorial Hall and a command center at Heller Elementary, according to a Facebook post from Wilson County Emergency Management. Red Cross volunteers helped people evacuated by the fire and provided food and drinks for first responders.
Contributing: Associated Press